The Rip Post                                                                                              

As the corpses of castaway Christmas trees turn brown in the gutters
Suffocating in polyurethane snow and inconvenience
As roses and 'mums and watermelons are slaughtered for parade watchers
Who hoot loudly when marching band children step in fresh horse dung
(Which Bob and Stephanie never remark upon)
As the sun sank slowly on the 20th of centuries
A gnat hiccup in time, a split-hair piece of quark in the not too grand human scheme of things
As Al Gore unwrapped his lack of presence, and jabbering hulks of flesh poured into theaters full of bad Helen Hunt movies,
Aggressively masticating detonated corn kernels oliagenous with tasty artificial grease,
Shameless, gluttonous, luxurious
As chained Rottweilers awaited a chance to eat anything that moved on the streets of Willowbrook and Watts
And girls with Eminem Madonna-encrusted synapses got henna tattoos around their bellybuttons,
As the hardy English sparrow disappeared from England for reasons known only to Holmes and Watson and maybe Rupert Murdoch,
Along with huge numbers of other scavenging songbirds
(Madonna unfortunately not among them),
As the guns aimed slowly in the west
And the gums flapped madly in the east
As the new Presidink tries to convince the world that he can pronounce the word, "intereshting" clearly
And to prove that he's a leader (I'm a leader! I can lead! It says so right here!)
By hiring a man who long tried to dismantle the Energy department
To now, um, run it,
As Colon KaPow! And Asscroft and Tricky Dick Cheney (no relation to Lon, maybe), and Poppy and the ghosts of Nixons past, and the rest of the new team
All do the Condoleeza
(You put your right foot in)
And valiantly vow to violate and vanquish and vaporize
But only where National interest rates are concerned,
(Who let the dogs out? Bush! Bush! Bush Bush!)
As Oprah tells millions of women exactly which tear-jerking tomes will change their lives,
And well, who DOESN'T want to be a millionaire?
As mountainous flatulent oily guts rumble with freshly shoveled Las Vegas buffets
Shrimp cocktails! Hot dog and bean and pineapple casserole! All you can eat!
And nachos smothered in Velveeta,
As the Middle never meets the East,
As Rush Limbaugh loses velocity,
(Who let the dogs out? Rush! Rush! Rush Rush!)
And humans engage in rampant Sexual Internet
And lay down gleaming, gorgeous concrete and shimmering blacktop and exquisite mini-malls over prairies and meadows and things that inspired dead white males like Beethoven and Wordsworth
And obese narccissists pretend to be stranded and starving at the ends of the earth for the amusement of television addicts
As the earth's ends are revealed more each day
And that last outpost where Wiley Post went to die in Alaska is milked dry of oil for that critical three months of poison energy it will yield,
As the Repugnicans trample the politically correct remains of the Democraps
(Dial 1-900 Idealogue. Operators are standing by.)
As the ghost of Frank Zappa smokes his Winstons from the sidelines, mute and pissed off,
And Lennon draws funny pictures with clouds and wind
And The Beatles beat all with songs as old as brown shoe
Here, beneath the blue suburban skies
As the churches filled with pious nursery rhyme hymns and people moved their lips along with them, if not their hearts,
Except for here and there,
As strange lobbying outfits with fancy names spend billions on imposing their tyrranical superstitions,
As the Bible was thumped and the purses pumped and the minions chumped and the hookers humped
As Ken Burns set out again to pay tribute to the American Negro, this time with jazz instead of baseball
(But somehow omitting Art Tatum),
As so-called Christians revelled in sheer hatred of all they opposed,
And didn't get shown the light in the strangest of places
Because they didn't look at it right
(Fundamentalist is such an apt term)
As Florida behaved more like the Republic of Chad
And the Jeremiac Supreme Court was more united than the Supremes tour,
(Baby, baby, where did our love go?)
While "A Hard Day's Night" played all over again in theaters, just like during Vietnam and LBJ,
As Costco teenagers chanted "finding everything all right?" and "have a nice day"
Without making eye-contact,
But stared in awe-struck wonder at Back Street Boys CDs in Tower,
And the world's largest pile of DDT played the chromosome shuffle with fishies off of Southern California
And Spielberg cranked up another marketing-designed, banal, anesthetizing epic, and Bill Gates went from Monopolizer to old Microsofty, and Mickey Eisner threw up because he had to turn people away from Disneyland,
And The Three Tenors sang Lennon's "Happy Christmas" with funny accents,
(And so thees ees Kreesmass)
As the city of L.A. built a $200 million cathedral a few blocks away from a few hundred cardboard box tents on Skid Row,
And bafflingly rich capitalist patriots transformed tract homes into giant tombs fit for a Ming Emperor
(Got to have room for those Star Wars lava lamps)
And rolled around in slavering SUV's the size of steam locomotives
With cigarettes in mouth and cell phone on ear,
In the throes of advanced, incurable Affluenza,
In the land of thrown-away leftovers,
As Billy Barty and Alec Guinness made for one final bit of entertainment on the obit pages,
And everyone still yucked about how that whore-monica blew Bill
While Charlton Heston said the guv-ment would have to pry his gun out of his cold dead hands,
Then checked into rehab,
And AK-47 office slaughters became cliches,
And Zubin Mehta came back to L.A. to conduct Mahler's Resurrection Symphony
As self-proclaimed lovers of freedom villified all authority like paranoiacs
And championed the plight of a few zygotes
while millions of orphan children died alone of AIDS
And gay college lecturers taught teenagers about how inserting a fist in one's hindquarters is an act of closeness
(I'll say!)
As the sun sank slowly on the 20th of centuries, the all-you-can-eat century, the century of blue suburban skies, here in the land of thrown-away leftovers,
I turned, dutifully, to the voice of tenor Jan Peerce, who sang. . .
"and so remember this/life is no abyss/ somewhere there's a bluebird of happiness."
                                                                                                              ---Charles Bogle


2002 Rip Rense. All rights reserved.